The truth about eating while you’re pregnant is simple and not at all scary, says Kaz Cooke, author of Up the Duff: The Real Guide to Pregnancy.
“You just need to eat more than usual amounts of protein and energy foods, and certain vitamins and minerals, because you’re making another human being (or two).”
This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to eat for two. According to Deakin University in Victoria, your energy intake should remain similar during the first trimester.
Then, as you hit your second and third trimester, your energy needs will increase, so your diet tweaks may need a little more guidance.
READ MORE: Pregnancy & Preconception
Raise your iron intake
Fact. Did you know that your developing bub draws iron from you, while in the womb, to store and use for the first five to six months of life on the outside? Amazing.
The volume of blood circulating through your body increases during pregnancy, too, and iron is critical to the production of haemoglobin – which delivers oxygen via the bloodstream.
Up to one in five women become iron deficient during pregnancy, so during your second and third trimesters, ensure you’re getting 22-36 mg of the nutrient (close to double the amount needed by non-pregnant women).
meat, chicken, seafood, beans, lentils and green leafy vegies.
Increase your quota of grain and cereal foods
“The body’s main source of energy for pregnancy comes from the essential carbohydrates found in breads and grains,” explains the American Pregnancy Association.
Opt for wholegrains over more processed varieties. These deliver iron, B-vitamins, fibre and a portion of protein, too.
Bread, rice, pasta, barley, buckwheat, quinoa.
Keep an eye on folic acid intake
Folate, known as ‘folic acid’ when added to food, is a B-group vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects in nascent bubs, so it’s important for pregnant women to make sure that they are getting enough of this important nutrient.
A daily supplement that contains at least 400µg is recommended for women planning a pregnancy and for the first three months of pregnancy, as well as eating folate rich foods. .
Asparagus, bran flakes, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and chick peas.
INFOGRAPHIC: Vitamins & minerals
Eat more iodine-rich foods
Iodine supports thyroid function, and is needed for growth and development.
A daily supplement of 150 µg of iodine is recommended for women planning a pregnancy, and during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Seafood, nori, eggs, meat and dairy.
The sunshine vitamin
Made in the skin by the action of sunlight, Vitamin D helps your baby grow strong bones and teeth.
Vitamin D can also prevent muscle weakness in pregnant women, according to the Royal Women’s Hospital in Sydney.
Ask your GP to assess your vitamin D levels and, if you’re deficient, help you devise a plan of action.
Got a question on your pregnancy? Ask our naturopaths